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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Foreign Fruits: 1905

Foreign Fruits: 1905

Circa 1905. "The Basin -- Baltimore, Maryland." Panorama made from three 8x10 inch glass negatives. Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Pratt, Calvert and Cheapside

The street between the Fountain Hotel and Border's is Calvert. A December 23, 1905, F. Border's Son ad in the Fruit Trade Journal and Produce Record places the location at Pratt, Calvert and Cheapside (the latter no longer exists). Light Street doesn't end at Inner Harbor, but runs along the west side of it and continues through South Baltimore.

The Basin = Inner Harbor

There was a long discussion about location on an earlier version of this photo. In the end we concluded that Light Street ran between the Fountain Hotel and F. Border's Son, both of which face onto Pratt Street, so definitely Inner Harbor.

The steamship in the background

is the iron-hulled Anthony Groves, Jr., launched 18 February 1893 and christened by the namesake's granddaughter, Louisa Groves. It was built by the Hillman Ship & Engine Building Company at Philadelphia for the Baltimore & Philadelphia Steamboat Company (the "Ericsson Line"), founded by Groves, and at the time was the largest vessel operating on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal at 210 feet in length and a gross tonnage of 605 tons. The Depression took its toll on the B&PSBCo and the vessel was reduced to a barge and converted to a gasoline tanker in 1933 for the Chesapeake Oil Transport Company, Inc. Its career almost ended in tragedy when the Groves exploded on Chesapeake Bay in tow of the tug Frances on 6 April 1936, killing the barge's three crewmen. The following year Baltimore's Harbor Towing Corporation bought the hull and rebuilt it as the tank barge Tarco No. 1 to transport tar to Philadelphia from Baltimore. It was broken up in 1947 at Baltimore by the Boston Metals Company.

So many men

And not a single woman? I'd imagine that there are few more gender-segregated spaces in the turn-of-the-century urban landscape than the wharfside. It's a joy to look at all the little interactions - clustered conversations, side-by-side tête-à-têtes, collective inspection of goods. Magnificent!

Over a Century Ago

Not really that long as history measures things, but lots is different! Oyster dredging fleet is almost all bugeyes, not skipjacks like the few survivors in existence now (even fewer of them actually dredge); steamboats carry passengers to Philadelphia and New York; all the transportation of cargoes from the docks inland is horse and cart.

Where is this "basin?" Same as today's Inner Harbor?

All gone now

The steamship company was headquartered in the Inner Harbor on Light St., so I suppose that's what we're looking at. Sure looks different today, though--pretty much everything that existed back then is gone, at least on this side of the harbor. Federal Hill is on the other side, and that's largely the same as it would have been then.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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